ANC showdown expected over Zuma Cabinet reshuffle

Monday will be the first time that ANC leaders meet after President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet, angering some of his colleagues in the top six.

FILE: The ANC's leadership at a meeting. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – As the African National Congress (ANC) prepares to hold its National Working Committee (NWC) meeting, a showdown is expected between supporters and defenders of President Jacob Zuma.

Monday will be the first time that ANC leaders meet after the president reshuffled his Cabinet, angering some of his colleagues in the top six.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says Zuma’s reshuffled Cabinet list was developed somewhere else.

The Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize says Zuma deprived the leadership collective of its responsibility to advise politically on executive matters and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa says he objected to the list which was "pre-prepared".

However, ANC chair Baleka Mbete has criticized the three leaders for publicly speaking out, while Mantashe's deputy Jessie Duarte says the ANC must support the president and his new ministers.

These disagreements will play themselves out in Monday’s meeting.

Some of the president’s supporters who are NEC members have told Eyewitness News they will call out Mantashe, Ramaphosa and Mkhize for publicly speaking out and will demand that action to be taken against them.

However, those against the president say they will simply demand answers about why the president fired successful ministers while leaving those underperforming untouched.


Meanwhile, Mbete has declined to state whether she agrees with Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, saying she is yet to be briefed on the details.

But she appears to speak against the leaders who have spoken out, saying ANC members are unhappy with party leaders speaking in different voices.

Mbete briefed the media earlier on Sunday after arriving from Bangladesh.

She cut short her working trip after her office received several submissions by opposition parties asking her to urgently convene a sitting of the National Assembly for a motion of no confidence in the President.

Over the past few days, four members of the ruling party’s top six have indicated their unhappiness with how Zuma’s reshuffled his Cabinet, where Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were axed.

Instead, Mbete seems to be unhappy with how some members of the top six have spoken out.

“Our people always express disquiet and unhappiness about us differing in public.’

She says the unhappiness around the Cabinet reshuffle will be discussed at Monday's national working committee, adding that after that meeting the party will speak in an organised voice.

Meanwhile, the ANC says it wants to strengthen its communication capacity as its currently not effectively sending the right messages.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu addressed the media as part of the party's regular discussions on its policy documents.

Mthembu says the main objective of the document is to effectively reposition the ruling party by being more pro-active in a contested communications environment.

“We think we are found wanting in terms of how we communicate as the executive arm of the state; but also not only the executive arm, even the legislative arm of the state.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)